As Jason and Lieutenant Briggs
were out scouting, they came upon an Indian in the river. A
closer looked showed that the Indian was wearing a soldier’s
“Pity the poor devil who was issued that jacket,”
Briggs declared bitterly. “We’re gonna split that savage right
down to his skin. And I hope he tries something, ‘cause I don’t
wanta stop there!”
Jason reminded Briggs that the
Sioux was on his own land. The river was the boundary. If
Briggs crossed it, he’d be violating a federal law.
That made Briggs angry. “I
wouldn’t expect you to care about you country’s uniform since
they took it away from you.” Briggs called behind him, ordering
a Sergeant to take the command. The Lieutenant was so gung ho
on killing the Indian that he didn’t see what Jason saw. Jason
saw some flashes in the tree on top of a mountain. “I’ll be
right back…” Briggs stated as he kneed his horse forward.
Jason took off after him at
lightening speed. When he caught up to Briggs and his horse,
they were at the edge of the creek. Jason tackled Briggs,
causing both Briggs and his horse to fall to the ground. Briggs
started fighting him as the Indian watched. Finally, he grabbed
Briggs by the coat. “Briggs, there’s thirty Sioux rifles up
there on that hill,” Jason warned. Jason ordered him to look.
Briggs turned and looked. He saw
the Sioux’s on the hill. “McCord, you’re gonna get twenty years
for this,” Briggs warned. “I’m filing a former complaint.”
“I hope you get the chance,”
Jason muttered as they watched the Sioux.
Sure enough, he put Jason in
jail. Custer came to visit Jason. He remembered the last time
he’d seen Jason in jail. “Seems like you got yourself in a peck
of trouble this time,” Custer declared. Custer sat down.
“Briggs said that Indian was wearing a Seventh Calvary jacket.
Two of my men were murdered by Indians last month. That jacket
was bound to belong to one of them.”
“Maybe,” Jason stated.
he’d been wearing it for five years.”
“The point is, it was a Calvary
jacket on the back of that Indian…”
“No, General…The point is we have
a Treaty because…”
“Well, maybe that treaty is just
a little bit outdated, Jason!” Custer declared as he jumped up.
“Maybe you’re thinking that it’s
a little outdated.”
“Jason, when you were younger…”
“I’ve learned a few things since
I was younger, General.”
“Like how to avoid a fight?”
Custer asked. Jason gave him a hard stare. “Forget it, Jason…I
didn’t mean that. I know you had reasons for what you did.”
Custer said he’d talk to them about dropping the charges.
Custer was interrupted when
another soldier came up to the cell. “Sir, General Sheridan’s
detail is approaching the gate.” Jason sat up on the side of
the cot at that. Custer remembered that Jason knew General
Sheridan. They were having a shin dig for the General and his
detail that night. “I’m sure he’d love to have you there.”
“Well, you can tell him for me,
General..I sure would like to be there!”
Custer said he’d see what he
could do about getting Jason out of there.
There was a storm outside that
evening while the “shin dig” was going on.
Jason was able to get to the shin
dig. Libby Custer introduced him to General Sheridan, whom
assured her they already knew each other. “General Custer is in
the study with Mr. MacAllister. If you could remind him of his
other guests, I’d appreciate it,” Libby told Jason. But before
Jason could get to the study, Jennie stopped him to
him to her father.
Mr. Galvin thanked Jason for
helping his daughter. “Jennie tells me you run the Indian
agency.” Jason thought that was a challenging job.
When Lieutenant Briggs and Cable
came in, they saw Jason laughing with Jennie. “Looks like Old McCoward is beating your time,” Cable declared with a smile.
Jason excused himself, needing to
see General Custer. He promised Jennie a dance later.
Suddenly, thunder sounded.
Everyone froze and turned to the door. An Indian, Chief Crazy
Horse, stood in the doorway. “Where is your long-haired Chief?”
he asked as everyone stared at him. General Custer stepped out
of the study. He gave his wife a reassuring touch as he stood
next to her. “I come in peace, Long Hair. I have heard that
the Chief of the Pawnee soldiers has come. I bring him words
from the Sioux nation.” Custer introduced Chief Sitting Horse
as one of Sitting Bull’s war chiefs.
He spoke to General Sheridan.
“Too many warriors have died. We want no more of death. We
want only to be left alone. We stayed in the camps you gave us
where there is food. We must follow the buffalo. If we are to
starve…we will starve in our own land.”
“Why do you talk of starving?”
General Sheridan asked. “We provided food for your people,
according to the treaty.”
“Words written in water.”
“Those words were written in
blood, Crazy Horse. Better the white man, better the red man.
If you have grievances…if you have misunderstandings, that’s
what the Indian agency is for.”
Crazy Horse pointed at Mr.
Galvin. “That man…he has cheated us! He has killed as many of
my people as long hair has done! But Long Hair killed quickly!
But hunger is a slow death. We did not ask for the scraps from
your tables. We are hunters. We ask only to be left alone! If
you do not, your women will weep as our women have wept.”
Chief Crazy Horse turned to
leave, but Lieutenant Briggs held a sword against him. He
intended to kill him. “General, he came in peace,” Jason said
General Custer thought about it.
Briggs and Chief Crazy Horse stood staring at each other, the
sword at his throat. “Let him go, Briggs,” Custer said just as
Jennie was upset at what the
Chief had said about her father. Her father excused himself.
Briggs came to give her comfort and Jason came to speak to her.
But Briggs didn’t like Jason. “The sight of an Indian just make
your legs turn rubber, doesn’t it? You know, I dropped my
charges against you because I knew you were a friend of the
General’s, and I think a lot of him as an officer and a man.
But I won’t stand around and watch you turn this outfit into a
Company of Cowards, McCord!” He put his arm around Jennie and
led her away.
MacAllister and Hazin had been
watching from the door of the study. “I thought you had Custer
primed,” Hazin grumbled. “It could have happened right then.”
Jason and Custer went to talk
privately. “I shouldn’t have let him go, Jason. He needed to
be taught a lesson. They are not supposed to leave the
reservation. He broke out of the reservation and broke into my
house, insulted my guests. I should have killed him.”
“After what he did, you have a
right to be angry,” Jason agreed. “But doesn’t what he said
bother you? What are you going to do about that?”
Custer stared into Jason’s eyes.
“Don’t play my conscience, Jas!”
Jason said his goodbyes and left.
Later that night, he silently
walked up to General Sheridan as he sat out on a wagon smoking a
cigar. “If I didn’t know what you were here for, I’d never
guessed it,” the General stated. He wondered what Jason had
Jason knew that Custer was being
used, but he didn’t know who or why. “Macallister is part of
it. He’s trying to convince the General that no one can block
his nomination next year.”
“If he wins an Indian War,” the
General finished for Jason. “Maybe you were right. Maybe you
oughta recall Custer.”
“No sir, I was wrong. You might
as well strip him of his rank. The Seventh is his life.”
General Sheridan reminded Jason Custer was his friend too.
“When a man’s ambition blinds him
to his duty, he’s no longer fit to command.”
“There’s more to it than that,
sir,” Jason stated. “A lot more.” Jason assured the General
that Custer wasn’t capable of forming a war. “Someone else is
pulling those strings.” The General wondered about Crazy
Horse’s accusations. He wondered if someone could be starving
the Indians into a fighting mood. “I’m going to have a talk
with Galvin, the Indian agent.”
“President Grant had an idea you
could handle this alone. But after tonight, I don’t think we
can afford to wait. I’m sending to Fort Kearney for
“Then you’ll have your war for
sure,” Jason warned. “General…give me one more week.”
“Alright. A short one…five
True to his word, Jason went to
visit Mr. Galvin. He was surprised to see that the Indian Agent
was packing. He wondered if it was because of what the Indian
had said. “Don’t lecture to me about running away from
responsibilities, McCord! I know about you!”
“What else do you know, Mr.
Galvin?” Jason questioned. He wasn’t sure what Jason meant.
“Somebody’s gone out of their way to start an uprising. A good
way to do that would be to short-change the Indians on their
rations.” Galvin stated he was busy and hurried toward the
Suddenly, Jason heard Galvin cry
out, then a loud thud. He rushed to the back room, only to get
hit on the head. He fell to the gournd.
Fuel was dumped out on the floor
of the Trading post. On his way out the door, the unknown
assailant threw a lantern, setting the entire building on fire.
Jason woke up and tried to escape as he looked for Galvin.
Unfortunately, he didn’t find the man. Jason barreled against
the door and ran from the building.
He found a Sioux war lance
outside the agency and too it to General Custer. “I looked for
your father, Jennie. He wasn’t in there.” Briggs didn’t
believe him. Custer told Briggs to save it for the Sioux.
“General, hold off until I can scout the area. There was one
set of fresh tracks outside that cabin and two coming out. It
wasn’t a war party. Galvin may still be alive. If you send a
regiment in there…” Custer agreed and told Briggs to put Company
A and B on alert.
“Jas, if you’re not back by
tomorrow night, I’m leading a night march,” Custer warned.
Jason assured him he’d be back.
Jason went on his scouting
mission, but as he stopped for a drink of water, he suddenly
found himself surrounded by Sioux Indians.
A horse with a man slung
saddle came rushing back to the army fort. Custer came out to
see who it was. It was Galvin, and he was dead. Jennie tried
to run to him, but Briggs held her back. Galvin had been shot
with an arrow. The blanket on his body told Custer that it was
Chief Crazy Horse. “Well Captain?”
MacAllister and Custer’s eyes
met. Custer gave the orders and everyone got ready to move
out. The trumpet played the march.
Custer mounted his horse and gave
the orders for the forward march ahead. The Calvary headed out
*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!
around The McCain Ranch